Cruising the Caribbean

Deborah, Greg, Jess, Kevin, Lila and Pa


We recently completed a cruise to the Caribbean Islands aboard Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Sea with our three grandchildren, Greg, Kevin and Jessica and our daughter, Deborah.   Anticipating ten days aboard the ship with three teenagers left us with some anxiety as we prepared to depart for our journey.  The positive aspect of this portion of our journey was that the ship was departing from Baltimore, just an easy forty minute drive from our house.    

I will not concentrate or comment much about our itinerary....traveling in the Caribbean is familiar to many people and the port visits were singularly not earth shattering.   Freeport in the Grand Bahamas was unimpressive, as was our visit to Port Everglades in Florida, which was really a provisioning port for the ship... food, mattresses, food, shower curtains, food and I am sure some other goodies as well.  

Our visit to Key West, Florida and the Royal Caribbean private island of CocoCay were both very nice especially as they required little time and effort to reach our point of interest after leaving the ship.  The port visit to Cozumel, Mexico was also interesting as we rode a semi-submersible boat to a coral reef for some fish watching, but the singular factor common to all the port visits was the heat coupled with excessive humidity.  Well DUH!!...”What do you expect in the middle of summer in the Caribbean?” I was told.   

 Every aspect of the cruise experience relative to the ship was just is the cruise line that knows how to cater to the needs and wants of families....the children loved it.    Since Royal Caribbean focuses on families, their core customer age is in the thirties and forties and the shipboard activities are directed toward that crowd. 


But this trip for us was all about Greg, Jessica and Kevin so this is their story.  Kevin is almost fifteen years old, Greg is sixteen years old and Jessica is almost seventeen years old......these are teenagers who have tasted life and knew what they wanted every step of the way.   Each readily dressed for evening dinner without any pressure on our part and they all enjoyed the great shows in the theatre each evening. 

Jessica is a charming, determined teenager, who knew immediately which programs she wanted to experience.  She is extremely expressive and definitely knows her own mind, so when the opportunity to meet other teenagers who would be traveling on the ship presented itself, Jessica was an eager and willing participant. 

Greg really wanted to get involved with the teen programs, but he was somewhat reticent to get involved on his own.   And in that regard, Jessica was an inspiration who encouraged Greg to get involved and he shortly became an enthusiastic devotee. 

            Teen parties beginning at midnight was the big thing...a chance for teens (age 15 through 17 years) to meet, talk and dance under the watchful eye of a chaperone from the ship.  Friendships are easily and readily realized that would seem to last forever...well, at least until the end of the cruise.   Kevin, a bit too young for this scene, had just not arrived at that point yet and did not get involved in the late night teen parties, but it did not stop him from getting involved in other shipboard activities.


The first night Jessica and Greg went to the teen party...the opening event.  Here they would meet and greet each other and make those lasting relationships that would enable them to acknowledge each other anywhere on the ship as part of that “secret” society.   “Who was that?” I would ask when they greeted some other teen....”Oh, just somebody I know” Jessica or Greg would reply. 

When I was sitting in the hot tub with all three of the kids on the second day of the cruise, a group of teens as they were walking by said “Are you going to the party later?”  I responded with “Are you talking to me?”  Thinking that I was being funny, I received only blank stares from all present.   No need to do that again. 

So the routine was for the family to gather for dinner and a show at which time the children would put Lila and me to bed before they headed out for the evening.  Of course they would come into our cabin some time during the night to tell us when they were ready to get some sleep.   And sleep they did, for they were often not up before about 11:30am, just in time for an early lunch.


           At that time we would learn just a smattering of the exciting details of their activities the night before.   Of course, after lunch they would often catch a nap, just in time to get up once again a little later when we would visit the hot tubs and/or the pool.  By then it was time to dress for dinner and repeat the whole process once more.


Port Lucaya, Freeport, Bahamas


CocoCay, Bahamas

After just a few days I was quite bothered by this routine...they were missing all the great fun on the ship....shuffleboard, ping-pong, etc.   How could they ruin their vacations by sleeping all day?   I asked then to get to bed earlier, so we could rise earlier and do things!!!!   Well, it seemed like I had missed the whole picture.

Going to the parties and dancing and talking to all hours of the night was the fun thing to talk for hours after the party and order French fries from room service at 2:00am was the fun thing to do and when they would get out of bed around noon after some probing, well, that was fun.   So here I was missing the whole scene...we were just on different schedules. 


Cozumel, Mexico

By the third day I had it down perfectly....they would play when we slept and we would play or rather just wait around while they slept.   And they had a great time ....Jessica, Greg and Kevin had a ball doing all they wanted to do on this cruise and they even took in some sightseeing and shopping as well.


          Lila, Deborah and I, enjoyed ourselves as well.  As I said earlier, the ship was great, the food was excellent and we were able to watch the three teenagers have the time of their lives.


CocoCay, Bahamas

Cozumel, Mexico in a semi- submersible boat